The Ireland Voluntary Group of Compassion in World Farming and Party for Animal Welfare held a protest outside Rosslare Europort on Saturday last, demanding that Stena Line and Irish Ferries stop shipping live animals to France.
Last year 158,000 calves were exported to Europe, mainly to veal farms in Spain and the Netherlands. Already this year over 30,000 calves have gone out from Rosslare, an increase of 40% on 2018, according to Compassion in World Farming Ireland Voluntary Group spokesperson Caroline Rowley.
'The unweaned calves are as young as two weeks old and have to travel up to 24 hours with no feed or water', said Caroline.
'Their immune systems are not fully developed and they cannot regulate their body temperature effectively which makes them susceptible to illness. As can be seen from footage taken by an exporter, they don't all make it to Cherbourg alive.'
Thousands of cattle and sheep are also exported every year for slaughter.
Most sheep exports go out in July and August and the animals are slaughtered without any pre-stunning, sometimes in unofficial slaughterhouses with no legal protection, according to Caroline.
'Journeys over eight hours are detrimental to an animal's health. Sending them on long journeys just to be fattened and slaughteree is unnecessary and inhumane', she said.
For information on the group email email@example.com.